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Snippet Reviews: Vacation Reading

December 21, 2011

I recently went on vacation (yes I will keep linking to that picture, if only to remind myself that I was, not too long ago, warm through and through), and while I didn’t read as much as I expected to (or as much as my mom did), a trip to the beach was never complete without a book thrown into my tote next to my sunscreen. So, here are my thoughts on what I did manage to read, in 5 sentences, more or less.

How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr
I read my first Zarr just over a year ago and absolutely loved it. I’ve learned that I really really like contemporary YA, and Sara Zarr is one the best at it, that I’ve come across anyway. Her writing and the straightforward, this-is-how-I-feel narration of her characters are fantastic, and there is no shortage of that fantasticness in How to Save a Life. So, there’s the great writing, but also the great characters. Jill is one tough cookie and sometimes I just wanted to give her a shake. And Mandy? I mostly wanted her to get a clue, but I also just felt really sad for her. Of course, by the end I loved both the girls. And I’ve gotta say, I really liked Ravi. Ms Zarr, can we have another book with more Ravi?
My rating: 8.75/10

The Last To Know by Melissa Hill
I read Before I Forget in the spring of 2010 and loved it so much I went out and bought Melissa Hill’s two other books. And then, as all highly anticipated-must-read-asap books do, they sat on my shelf for a year and a half – for so long that I forgot how wonderful Melissa Hill is at twisting a plot. The Last To Know is a multiple point of view story in the vein of Marian Keyes, and just when I thought I’d figured out how all the story lines fit together, Hill through a curve ball at me that I did not see coming whatsoever. The Last To Know has characters you’ll immediately root for, characters you’ll immediately hate, and plot twists that will make you shout “WHAT IS GOING ON??!” If you’re a fan of smart chick lit/women’s lit, I highly recommend checking out Melissa Hill, if you haven’t already.
My rating: 8.5/10

Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell
This wasn’t one of the 5 books I brought along with me, but after a week on the beach I decided I needed to reread this while I was still surrounded by beautiful blue ocean – and it was one the best vacation choices I made. One afternoon I was reading out on the balcony of our condo and came across this line:
“…though the white men’s ship did not return that spring, it was a happy time. The air smelled of flowers and the birds sang everywhere.” (p. 111)
When I looked up I found two little birds perched on the railing next to me, singing away. Reading is made for moments like this when fiction and real life sync up so perfectly.
I first read Island of the Blue Dolphins in Elementary school (I forget which grade), but the story stuck with me and the fact that one girl really did survive on the island all on her own has always intrigued me. It’s a quick, wonderful story of survival that I highly recommend if you haven’t already read it or if it has been a while.
My rating: 8.5/10

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